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EPIPHANY

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Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)
Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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A last blast before the observance of Lent, Carnival has evolved in many parts of the world with Christian traditions to be the biggest party of the year. Traditions vary from country to country, and even from region to region, but most places celebrate with a parade filled with masks, music, and ecstatic revelers. The world's biggest party happens in Rio de Janeiro, where millions fill the streets as the parade enters the Sambadrome. Collected here are pictures of Carnival in many forms as celebrated in various parts of Europe, Latin America, and North America. -- Lane Turner (41 photos total)
A performer from the Beija Flor samba school parades during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro on Feb. 20, 2012. Millions watched the sequin-clad samba dancers at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Carnival parade. (Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press)

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A man rides a horse through a bonfire in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, in honor of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals. On the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day, hundreds ride their horses trough the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the “Luminarias,” a [...]

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CROWNING AROUND
CROWNING AROUND: Swimmers took part in a New Year swim in the Vltava River on Friday in Prague. Prague Castle is seen in the background. (Matej Divazna/AFP/Getty Images)

DIRTY WATER
DIRTY WATER: A Pakistani boy waded through a dirty water channel on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, on Friday. An estimated 250,000 children die annually in Pakistan from water-borne diseases, local media APP reported on Wednesday. (Umar Qayyum/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

SLIPPERY SLOPE
SLIPPERY SLOPE: Britain’s Kristan Bromley competed in the men’s skeleton race during the FIBT Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup competition in Altenberg, Germany, on Friday. (David W Cerny/Reuters)

HAILSTONES
HAILSTONES: An Indian girl picked up hail after a hail storm and heavy rain outside the Sikh Shrine Golden temple in Amritsar on Friday. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)

EPIPHANY
EPIPHANY: A worshiper kissed a pillar in the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, during Orthodox Christmas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday. (Bernat Armangue/Associated Press)

NEW BISHOPS
NEW BISHOPS: Marek Solczynski of Poland and Charles John Brown of the U.S. lay on the ground before being appointed bishops by Pope Benedict XVI during the Eucharist for the Solemnity of Epiphany on Friday at St Peter’s basilica at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

IN THE DRINK
IN THE DRINK: A man dragged packages of potable water in a flooded street in the Tres Vendas neighborhood in Campos, Brazil, Friday. A dike burst in the flood-hit northern Rio de Janeiro state Thursday, forcing the evacuation of their nearly 4,000 residents, authorities said. (Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)

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Fireworks explode in the sky over Bucharest, Romania, at midnight, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, during street celebrations of the new year. Large crowds gathered around the word to bring in 2012. Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters assist a man out of his apartment along with a cage of birds as multiple cars burn in a [...]

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